Cliffs of Fall
"A collection of stories about love and acceptance, expectations and disappointment.
"Shirley Hazzard's stories are sharp, sensitive portrayals of moments of crisis. Whether they are set in the Italian countryside or suburban Connecticut, the stories deal with real people and real problems.
"In the title piece, a young widow is surprised and ashamed by her lack of grief for her husband.
"In A Place in the Country, a young woman has a passionate, guilty affair with her cousin's husband.
"In Harold, a gawky, lonely young man finds acceptance and respect through his poetry.
"Moving and evocative, these ten stories are written with subtlety, humor, and a keen understanding of the relationships between men and women."
"Shirley Hazzard has such a treasury of style that she can enconomize or splurge, and, because her taste is unerring, every expenditure is right." - Jean Stafford, Vogue
"Miss Hazzard's mind is a revolving light that picks a scene, holds it in utmost clarity for a moment against the surrounding darkness, and moves on." - The New York Times
A Place in the Country
In One Man's House
Cliffs of Fall
The Worst Moment of the Day
First Paragraph from the Title Story
"If you have to be unhappy," Cyril said, "you must admit that there couldn't be a better place for it."
He was speaking to Elizabeth Tchirikoff, who sat on his right at the breakfast table. His wife, Greta, was at his left. They were seated this way, in a row, because the table was on the terrace and commanded across the lake a fine view of the Alps. At their back, past the side of the house, the garden merged into fields and vineyards on the flat green plateau and appeared to stretch, with the interruption of scarcely a single house, to the range of the Jura. On the Jura, this magnificent September, there was no snow whatever. Even on the Alps the snow line was exception high, revealing great jagged precipices of black rock that had seldom seen the sun. Along the lake, the bathing places were still crowded in the afternoons, the weekend traffic was still lethal on the Route Suisse, the tourists still sat outside in the cafés of Geneva. It was weather more majestic, less distracted than summer, and untouched by decay - the improbably fine weather, without evocation or presentiment, that is sometimes arrested in a colored photograph.
From the King Penguin paperback edition, 1988.
Nine of the stories in this collection appeared originally in The New Yorker. "A Place in the Country" was published in The New Yorker as two stories entitled "A Place in the Country" and "A Leave-Taking". "In One's Own House" appeared in Mademoiselle.
This page and its contents are copyright © 2001 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.Return to Shirley Hazzard Page.
Last modified: November 27, 2001.